Youth Against Settlements on May 17 announced that the closed military zone orders in Hebron were not renewed by the Israeli military. The Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron had been under closed military zone orders since November 1, 2015 with the order having been renewed at 2-4 week intervals.
Youth Against Settlements attributed (YAS) this success to the Open the Zone campaign that YAS and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) launched on May 3. The campaign involved video testimony of families and individuals living in the closed military zone describing the difficulties the closed military zone created for their lives. On May 12 the campaign held a press conference in front of the Shuhada Street checkpoint where Hebron’s mayor and director of municipality spoke.
The closed military zone order had prohibited non-residents – including medical personnel, human rights observers, journalists, home repair people, family, and friends – from entering the area. Palestinians who were living in the zone were assigned numbers that they had to give at the checkpoint in order to reach their homes within the closed military zone. The supposed purpose of the order had been for security. However, Youth Against Settlements coordinator Issa Amro described the order as being a thinly-disguised attempt to forcibly displace of the Palestinians from Hebron’s old city where illegal Israeli settlers reside.
Palestinians in Hebron continue to suffer from massive closures, restrictions, and violence. Shuhada Street in Hebron has been almost entirely closed to Palestinians since 1994. Youth Against Settlements will continue working to end the systems of apartheid and separation in Hebron until the military occupation of the West bank is ended and equality is achieved for all people in Palestine.